Washington Cabs $20 to $40

Tasted February 27, 2013 by Loren Sonkin with 542 views


Last night my tasting group met to try some Washington Cabs. Although we normally try for $20 to $40, some of these went a bit more. The idea is to find some value on our local shelves although some of these were brought in as well. The wines were served blind and enjoyed for 2 hours before being revealed. We then continued to sample them. Bread and cheeses were served.

There was some disappointment with the tasting. Much of this is probably due to the lack of alternatives available locally. It seems like there were more choices 5 years ago. For whatever reason, the local distributors have narrowed this market and the choices were limited.

Disclaimer, the owner/winemaker of Sineann, Peter Rossback, has been a friend of mine since college in the mid 1970's. I brought the wines, but except for the dessert wine, they were consumed blind.

Flight 1 (1 note)

White - Sparkling
N.V. Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
82 points
Silvery copper gold in color. There is a fair amount of quickly disappearing bubbles. The nose has green apples and a whiff of apple cider. I wondered if this was a sparkling cider. Slightly sour/bitter apples on the palate. drinkable, but nothing special here. I seemed to like it more than the group.

Flight 2 (9 notes)

2008 Woodward Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon Artist Series USA, Washington
78 points
I know my score is low and in fact, some in the group liked this more than I. I just couldn't get past the oak. Those who liked it acknowledged they liked the oak, the vanilla, the crem brulee. There is some fruit here, but I am not sure where this goes. I wouldn't mind trying it in the future, but I had real trouble with this. Also a lot of heat on the finish. Seemed to be a divisive wine.
2009 L'Ecole No. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
87 points
The nose has a lot of oak. Some fresh cut lumber, some vanilla. Also some cherries. The palate is much better. Tasty black cherries. One dimensional, but it is young. There is some creaminess on the palate, but that is the only real sign of the oak carrying thru.
2008 Sineann Cabernet Sauvignon Block One USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
94 points
This was a wow wine for me. I brought it and threw it in as an extra although out of the normal price range (I think this sells for around $60). Block one refers to the first block planted in the Champoux vineyard. Purple in color, shimmering bright. I had popped the glass cork and allowed this to breathe for about 10 hours at home. The nose is nice but milder. Cassis, some vanilla, a bit of graphite. On the palate, this is complex and layered. Still very young, it needs time. Lots of firm tannins. Cassis and some plums on the finish. Very good.
2009 Pearmund Cellars Collaboration Kendall Farms USA, Washington
88 points
Purple/dark brown in color. The nose is very tight. With air, dust and black cherries. Tannic with black cherries on the palate. This is more of a generic red. Some heat on the finish. A nice wine and easy to drink and for $20, good QPR.
2011 Sharecropper's Wine Co. Cabernet Sauvignon USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
88 points
I liked this wine, certainly more than the group. It is a generic red that retails around $20 in Ohio. Not much of a nose although some dust and some cassis. Juicy with nice texture. Smooth and easy drinking. Tart cherries with some cassis. Good QPR.
2008 Sineann Cabernet Sauvignon Baby Poux Vineyard USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
93 points
From a younger set of of vines in the Champoux vineyard although by now, these should have some age (15?) on them. Very good and probably the most classic cab on the table and ready to drink. Purple in color, opaque and bright. The nose is nice with pencil lead, cassis and oak. Really great on the palate. This also had been allowed to breathe in my cellar for 10 hours and was showing really well I thought. One taster voted this last due to some balsamic notes (I didn't get that) which kept it from being the groups WOTN.
2008 Gordon Estate Cabernet Sauvignon SIX USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
86 points
Purple in color. The nose has a bit of VA, not bad, but since there is little else on the nose it is more noticeable. Much better on the palate. A bit thin, but a nice juicy acidity that helped to offset a lot of oak. Also some black cherries. I liked this more than the group who panned this wine (last place).
2009 Waterbrook Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
83 points
Inky purple in color. The nose is very tight. Perhaps some dust. Someone said crem brulee. Perhaps. On the palate, this is rough. Black raspberries and prunes. Heat on the finish. Ok, but not much more.
2009 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
87 points
The group liked this far more than I. It garnered three first place votes. I found it to be nice but generic. A fine easy to drink red wine. Not much nose. Sweet juicy mouthfeel. Smooth for sure. No real problems but I am not sure what those guys loved. They did say they really liked how easy it drank.
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Flight 3 (1 note)

Red - Fortified
2006 Sineann Zinfandel CJ Zinfandel Port USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
90 points
A nice way to finish the tasting. Purple in color. The nose has bramble and raspberries. Slightly sweet. Easy to drink. Smooth. Raspberries on the palate.
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